Adam Silver

And-Ones: Female Coaches, Referees, One-And-Done, Draft Lottery

Adam Silver would like to see more female officials and coaches in the NBA down the road, a league that’s mostly comprised of men today, according to NBC Sports. Silver made his comments in an appearance for The Economic Club in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

“It’s an area, frankly, where I’ve acknowledged that I’m not sure how it was that it remained so male-dominated for so long. Because it’s an area of the game where physically, certainly, there’s no benefit to being a man, as opposed to a woman, when it comes to refereeing,” Silver said.

“The goal is: Going forward, it should be roughly 50-50 of new officials entering in the league,” he said. “Same for coaches, by the way. We have a program, too. There’s no reason why women shouldn’t be coaching men’s basketball.”

In 72 years of being active, the NBA has never had a female head coach. On the plus side, Kelly Krauskopf became the first female assistant general manager in league history this season, joining the Pacers in early-January.

Among the most influential female figures in the league is current Spurs assistant Becky Hammon. Hammon was the first full-time assistant coach in NBA history, originally heading to Gregg Popovich‘s staff in 2014.

Here are some other odds and ends around the basketball world today:

  • Should the NBA abandon the one-and-done rule by 2022, two names to remember are Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren, Adam Zagoria of Forbes writes. Both players are among the top players in the class of 2022, with the NBA continuing to discuss how to remove this rule and allow prospects to declare for the draft after high school. “There are a bunch of issues that need to be worked through between us and the players association, so it’s something we’re in active discussions about,” Adam Silver said this week, according to Rick Maese of the Washington Post. “It’s a few years away, I think.”
  • Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at whether it’s possible for the NBA Draft Lottery to be rigged. The lottery will take place this Tuesday, May 14 in Chicago, with the Cavaliers, Knicks and Suns all having a 14% chance at landing the No. 1 pick.
  • Kiki VanDeWeghe discussed his viewpoint of the behind-the-scenes draft lottery with Marc Berman of the New York Post. VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s VP of basketball operations, will moderate the actual ping pong ball drawing for the sixth consecutive season on Tuesday. “This is part of my job. I can tell everybody that every assurance is taken that it’s random,” VanDeWeghe said to those who believe the process could be fixed. “Knowing the process very well after three years, there’s no question in my mind.”

And-Ones: Turnover, Lottery, Mayo, Refs

As Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype notes, we’re upon the time of the year when the NBA’s coaching carousel is in full swing. And while this time of the year is exciting for new hires like Monty Williams, it’s also a sobering reminder of how NBA head coaches have the highest coaching turnover rate among the four major sports leagues over the past 20 years.

On average, a new head coach is hired in the NBA every 2.4 seasons as opposed to every 2.6 seasons (NHL), 3.1 seasons (MLB) and 3.4 seasons (NFL) in the other three leagues. Ironically, but not altogether unexpected, the teams with less coaching turnover actually have significantly higher records (e.g. see the Spurs and head coach Gregg Popovich).

On the other end of the spectrum, the Nets, Pistons and Knicks all have an NBA-high 12 coaching changes in the last 20 years and all have a winning percentage below .500 during that span. The one outlier is the Lakers, who have a winning percentage above .500 over the last 20 years despite the fact that they’ll be on their eighth coach this summer.

The entire article regarding the study is worth a read, and once you’re finished, check out some more odds and ends from the basketball world below:

  • Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN take a look at what’s at stake for every team in next week’s lottery, including each team’s likely picks, odds and questions for the teams in the lottery, traded picks and more.
  • After having recently averaged 22.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in a Taiwanese league, former NBA guard O.J. Mayo signed a deal in China with Hunan Jinjian, per Orazio Cauchi of Sportando.
  • In an article from The Associated Press, it was relayed that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants half of all new referees joining the league to be women — and he would like to see teams hire female coaches, too.

And-Ones: Silver, Mock Draft, Players’ Poll, Belinelli

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is willing to consider shortening the regular season and even the length of games, he said in a press conference on Friday. Silver’s comments were relayed by the Associated Press’ Brian Mahoney“The format we have in place now — I’m a traditionalist on one hand, but on the other hand it’s 50 years old or so, presenting an 82-game season, and there’s nothing magical about it,” Silver said. He also tossed out the idea of reducing the length of games from 48 minutes to 40, the same as college and international games. Holding mid-season tournaments is something else he’s willing to consider. None of the potential changes are close to be implemented, Mahoney adds.

We have more from the basketball world:

Adam Silver Dismisses Lockout Concerns

NBA commissioner Adam Silver isn’t overly concerned that the increase in power among star players will eventually lead to a lockout, relays Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. TNT analyst Charles Barkley warned of that possibility last month as a backlash against players who try to force their way out of unhappy situations. Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis have all employed that tactic over the past year.

However, Silver notes that players have always been able to exercise leverage to get what they want and says holdouts were more common when he started working for the NBA in the 1990s than they are now. Still, he admits there’s a need to create more of a level playing field throughout the league.

A lockout isn’t an immediate threat as the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement runs through 2023/24, with a mutual opt-out in the summer of 2023. Silver said his greater concern is maintaining an audience at a time when many people opt to watch highlights for free on social media rather than paying for cable subscriptions.

“Our competition isn’t just between NBA teams, it’s against every other form of entertainment,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon the players, their union, the owners and the league office to come together to develop the best system for creating competition [on the court]. That will put us in the best position to compete against everything else.”

Silver notes that the league recently changed its timeout rules to create an easier viewing experience. The NBA has also established a wide presence on social media, has experimented with virtual reality broadcasts and has created more League Pass options for casual fans. Instead of paying full price for an entire season, viewers can watch the fourth quarter of a close game for $1.99, and an effort is under way to expand accessibility.

“We’re in an enormously competitive environment where customers dictate what they want,” Silver said. “We want you to be able to see an alert that James Harden is going for 70 points and buy the last five minutes of that game for $0.99 on the spot.”

The commissioner predicts many changes in the media environment by the time the league’s television contract expire in 2025. Amazon, Twitter and Facebook may be incorporated into the next TV deal.

Silver also confirmed that the NBA sent a proposal to the players association allowing high school players to be eligible for the draft in 2022. The NBPA is considering the change, which would include greater access to potential draftees’ medical records.

“It’s the league’s position that if teams are drafting players directly out of high school, having that medical information becomes that much more important,” Silver said. “I’m confident we will ultimately get something done and reach a fair resolution.”

Adam Silver On Anthony Davis Saga: ‘Bad For The Fans There’

Anthony Davis‘ public trade request has generated plenty of discussion over the last five weeks, from the Pelicans shopping him ahead of this year’s trade deadline to his playing time moving forward. Per Andrew Lopez of, NBA commissioner Adam Silver discussed the situation on Friday, criticizing the publicity of Davis’ demand and explaining the difficult spot it has put the team and the league in.

“It’s not good when a player whose agent shows up in a city he doesn’t live in and announces this player doesn’t want to be here,” Silver said. “That’s bad for the fans there.”

Silver also referenced the “entertainment” value of the circumstances surrounding the news. Not only does the league receive more attention after his demand went public but interest in watching him play in the present also increases. Given the financial implications of New Orleans potentially sitting the six-time All-Star for the remainder of the season, Silver said the conflict has “two sides.”

“It puts the league in a difficult position because back to the notion of an entertainment product because I can tell you, I look at the ratings and I can say the interest in the team is still going to be greater with Anthony Davis on the floor than when he’s not on the floor,” he said. “He is a top player in this league. People are paying to see him compete.”

Davis appeared on LeBron James HBO program this week, labeling himself the “CEO of my business.” Additionally, the perennial MVP candidate has said he would be open to playing for any team next season — the final year on his contract.

While Silver praised owner Gayle Benson‘s handling of the situation, the NBA commissioner admitted there’s no specific protocol to handle the matter.

“I don’t have an easy solution to the facts at hand take with Anthony Davis, but I think there are long term solutions,” Silver said. “We’re constantly looking for a better system.”

NBA Submits Proposal To Lower Draft Age

The NBA has submitted an official proposal to the National Basketball Players Association that would lower the draft-eligible age from 19 to 18, according to a report from Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY Sports.

The NBPA and executive director Michele Roberts planned to review the proposal on Monday at a post-All-Star break meeting, Zillgitt adds.

Both the NBA and the NBPA have held extensive discussions on lowering the age throughout the season, but two significant hurdles remain in the way: Commissioner Adam Silver wanting player-agents to provide medical information on prospects for NBA teams, and the league wanting to mandate that players attend and give some form of participation during the pre-draft combine, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. To this point, the NBPA has pushed back against both of these ideas.

In the present day, players must attend college for one season – or at least be one year removed from high school – before they can declare for the NBA Draft. Prospects such as Duke’s Zion Williamson have raised questions about the legitimacy of this rule, with Williamson widely regarded as being NBA-ready before his collegiate season began.

Should the NBA and NBPA mutually agree on a proposal to lower the draft age, the league wants to give teams significant time before putting the rule into effect, according to Zillgitt. The earliest draft with an altered minimum-age would likely be the 2022 NBA Draft, or three years from June.

Adam Silver Calls Tanking “Corrosive”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke out against tanking today in his annual All-Star Weekend address, calling the practice “corrosive,” relays Marc Berman of The New York Post.

“I, personally, don’t think it’s a winning strategy over the long term to engage in multiple years of rebuilding,’’ Silver said. “There’s a mindset that, if you’re going to be bad, you might as well be really bad. I believe personally that’s corrosive for those organizations.”

Silver lives in New York, Berman notes, and has daily exposure to the Knicks, who dropped 18 consecutive games before beating the Hawks on Thursday. The league changed its rules this year to reduce the benefits of having the worst overall record, giving equal odds at the top pick to the three bottom teams. However, the move hasn’t had the desired effect as the Knicks, Suns, Cavaliers and Bulls are far separated from the rest of the NBA in our latest Reverse Standings. The allure of adding a star such as Duke’s Zion Williamson is too tempting, even with the new odds.

“I’m pretty sure we acknowledged at the time we didn’t think we’d solve the problem,’’ Silver said, hinting that additional changes may be on the way.

Here are some more highlights from Silver’s speech:

  • The commissioner believes the recent trend of high-profile players making public trade requests is harmful to the league, relays Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. Pelicans center Anthony Davis is the latest star asking to be moved — a story dominated the trade deadline and figures to loom over everything else this summer. “I don’t like trade demands, and I wish they didn’t come,” Silver stated. “I wish all those matters were handled behind closed doors. . . . I think we could do a better job as a league in avoiding those situations that get to the point where players are demanding to be traded or, in a worst-case scenario, saying they won’t honor their contract.”
  • Silver brushed aside concerns that small-market teams can’t compete in the NBA, according to Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. The commissioner noted that the league has remained popular even with both New York teams, both Los Angeles teams and Chicago all missing the playoffs last season. “If you look at the success of the so-called big markets in the last five years, they’ve been at an all-time low in terms of their success on the floor,” he said. “… We didn’t have the traditional big market teams even playing in the playoffs.”
  • Silver admitted that the move to add Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade to the All-Star Game was suggested by a fan’s email, tweets ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

Adam Silver Hasn’t “Given Any Thought” To NFL Inquires

During his five years as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has received inquiries from several NFL team owners about whether he’d be interested in switching leagues and becoming the NFL’s commissioner, sources tell ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. Silver has also been approached by Fortune 500 companies about potential job opportunities, Shelburne reports.

Although Silver didn’t explicitly confirm that he has received interest from NFL owners or other companies looking to lure him away from the NBA, he tells Shelburne that he’s not considering leaving his current position.

“I’ll just say I have not given it any thought,” Silver said. “I feel very fortunate to be in this position. As a longtime fan, as a long time league employee, the opportunity to become the commissioner of this league was beyond anything I even ever dreamed of as a kid.

“I’ve loved every day I’ve been in this job, and I think there’s nothing but enormous opportunity ahead for this league. And ultimately, I realize I’m just passing through like every player who’s gone through this league and ultimately like every owner, and I feel an enormous obligation to the fans and to this greater NBA family to do my best and try my hardest every day. But that’s where 100% of my focus is.”

While the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have had to deal with controversies related to player protests, head injuries, domestic incidents, and – of course – “Deflate-gate” in recent years, the NBA has been relatively scandal-free during Silver’s tenure.

As Shelburne’s story observes, Silver has helped grow the sport by embracing eSports, legalized sports betting, and patch advertisements on jerseys, while tweaking rules related to referee accountability, game flow, and the draft lottery. And as we noted when we relayed Forbes’ annual franchise valuations last week, the average value of an NBA franchise has tripled over the last five years.

Be sure to check out Pro Football Rumors for the NFL-centric perspective on Shelburne’s report.

NBA Won’t Ask Enes Kanter To Tone Down Criticism Of Turkish Government

The NBA supports the decision Enes Kanter made to stay behind while the Knicks traveled to London, and commissioner Adam Silver said the league is taking reports of Turkey issuing an extradition notice for the 26-year-old center “very seriously.”

“My stance is I think it’s very unfortunate Enes Kanter is not here with the New York Knicks,” Silver said of Kanter not making the trip to London (via Marc Berman of the New York Post). “I absolutely understand his reasoning why he elected not to come. Certainly, there wasn’t a suggestion to the league not to come on this trip. We live in a world, these are really significant issues that he’s dealing with. I recognize for the NBA that by virtue of a fact we’re a global business, we have to pay attention to these issues.”

Sources tell Berman that the NBA won’t act until official extradition is made and the league will work with the State Department should that occur. 

Turkish prosecutors are seeking an international arrest warrant for Kanter, accusing him of associating with a terrorist group and providing funds to Fethullah Gulan, a Muslim cleric who previously resided in Turkey. Gulan currently lives in Pennsylvania and the U.S. Government does not consider him a terrorist.

Kanter, who refutes any wrongdoing, has repeatedly has spoken out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, calling him a “maniac” and “the Hitler of our century.” The NBA will not approach Kanter about toning down his criticism of the Turkish Government.

“There’s nothing more important as commissioner of the league than the safety of our players,” Silver said. “We take very seriously the threats he’s received — even if it’s people on social media. I support Enes as a player in this league. I support the platform players have to speak out on issues that are important to them.”

Kanter isn’t going to be extradited based on the claims of Erdogan — or at least that’s the opinion of Sports Illustrated’s legal expert Michael McCann.

Extradition is a multi-step process that can take years to complete and the probability of it occurring in Kanter’s situation is “very low,” McCann writes. It’s unclear whether Turkey possesses any evidence of Kanter committing any wrongdoing, something that would be needed for the U.S. to comply with Turkey’s request, McCann adds.

It has also been reported that Turkey will file a “red notice” with the International Police Organization also known as Interpol. The organization doesn’t have the authority to arrest anyone and is usually used to more effectively share information between countries regarding the whereabouts of a potential fugitive or unlawful figure.

As McCann notes, Turkey requesting Kanter be placed on “red notice” is curious. Kanter’s whereabouts are mostly known publicly because of his team’s schedule. He’s active on social media and he’s a 6’11” human walking around the U.S., one who is unlikely to leave North America because of immigration status.

One thing is clear: Kanter won’t be sent to Turkey based on his criticism of Erdogan, as freedom of speech is protected in the U.S. Kanter previously said he did not travel with the Knicks for the London trip for fear he would be assassinated by Turkish spies as a result of his criticism.

“Anyone who speaks out against him is a target,” Kanter wrote of Erdogan in an op-ed in The Washington Post. “I am definitely a target. And Erdogan wants me back in Turkey where he can silence me.”

Berman spoke with a Turkish basketball reporter who was at the Knicks-Wizards London game and talked to the New York Post scribe on the condition of anonymity. The reporter said that “no one likes Enes in Turkey right now,” adding that Kanter could be “attacked in the USA” as easily as he could be in London.

Kanter won’t have major issues traveling to any of the NBA’s 30 home arena. He has made arrangements with the U.S. government to travel with the Knicks to Canada when they play the Raptors in Toronto.

The 26-year-old center is currently on the trade block for New York, as the team is in the midst of a youth movement. There have been no reports of rival teams shying away from acquiring him because of his political friction with the Turkish Government.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Adam Silver Talks Suns, Draft Lottery, Marijuana

Appearing on Howard Beck’s podcast, The Full 48, NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed a handful of issues facing the league, weighing in on the Suns‘ arena situation, the NBA’s draft lottery, and the league’s marijuana policy, among other topics.

Here are some of the highlights from the discussion:

On the Suns’ arena situation and the concept of relocation in general:

  • Silver says he has made it clear that it’d be a “failure” on his part if an NBA team moves out of its current market, and he doesn’t expect that to happen with the Suns. “If I can be helpful, I will be to all parties there,” Silver said, referring to the Suns and the Phoenix City Council. “But I’m pretty confident they’re going to sit down and work out a deal.”
    [RELATED: Robert Sarver: Suns won’t move out of Phoenix]
  • In the Suns’ case, the issue will come down to how much money the city is willing to put toward those renovations to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Silver, referring to arenas as “modern-day town halls,” argues that a public/private funding partnership makes sense because NBA games make up only a fraction of the events that take place at those arenas.
  • Silver points out that Phoenix’s arena is the oldest one in the NBA that hasn’t been either rebuilt or renovated over the years, adding that it’s in need of an upgrade.

On the draft lottery:

  • It’s still “unclear” how effective the NBA’s changes to the draft lottery will be, according to Silver, who cautions that he views the recent tweaks as an incremental improvement rather than a “cure-all.”
  • The NBA is constantly looking for ways to improve its system, but unless the league is willing to take drastic measures to revamp how teams can acquire players coming into the NBA (ie. abolishing the lottery or the draft itself), there’s only so much that can be done to adjust the format, says Silver.
  • The commissioner also tells Beck that he’s unconvinced that “tanking” for multiple years is the best way to go about rebuilding, given the toll it takes on a team’s culture and fan base.
  • Silver referred to “The Wheel,” an idea from Celtics executive Mike Zarren which would see a team rotate through all 30 draft positions over 30 years, with those positions set well in advance. However, Silver suggests it’d be a bad look for the league for championship teams to end up with top picks, given the fan outrage when the Warriors signed DeMarcus Cousins this past offseason.

On the NBA’s marijuana ban:

  • The NBA is having ongoing discussions with the players’ union about the league’s rules surrounding marijuana, according to Silver. “I don’t want to speak for [union head] Michele Roberts, but I think she and I have a somewhat similar view on this, which is we should follow the science,” Silver said. “This is not an ethical issue for me. It’s not a moral issue for me. I obviously see what’s happening in states around America. I think there’s a bunch of unique issues for the NBA.”
  • The fact that various states across the country have different regulations and rules regarding marijuana use makes things trickier for the NBA, according to Silver, who points out that there are still federal laws prohibiting traveling with marijuana.
  • Silver also notes that the league’s marijuana ban may – in some cases – result in players turning to alcohol or prescription drugs, which might actually be worse for the player that marijuana would be.
  • Ultimately, the NBA wants more input from experts before making any changes, but Silver acknowledges that the league may eventually alter its position.

On changing the NBA’s entry age:

  • Silver reiterates that the earliest the NBA would change its entry age would be for the 2022 draft, which has been previously reported.
  • Silver views 2022 as a reasonable target for those changes if the NBA and players’ union can get something done within “the next few months.” If there’s no significant progress in those talks by the time the 2019 draft is approaching, the timeline may need to be pushed back further, says Silver.
  • In concert with the negotiations on the NBA’s entry age, the league will likely be looking to create regulations about the availability of prospects’ medical information during the pre-draft process — Silver would like to see all teams have equitable access to that info, as opposed to top prospects withholding it from specific clubs.
  • Silver believes the NBA G League will get up to 30 teams within “the next two years or so.” Currently, 27 clubs have NBAGL affiliates.